Don Rush

Assoc. Program Director- Sr. Producer News and Public Affairs

Don Rush is the News Director at Public Radio Delmarva (WSCL/WSDL) in Salisbury, Maryland on the campus of Salisbury University. He has spent the last 35 years in broadcast journalism specializing in national politics. Before coming to Salisbury he spent 12 years in Washington DC with the Pacifica Network News bureau. During the 1980’s he was News Director at KFPK in his home town of Los Angeles. He also worked for the Los Angeles based wire and audio news service CNS/RNW. Locally, he has become an award winning journalist covering everything from development and environmental issues to local politics.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A federal judge has approved a $1.5 million settlement between the city of Wilmington and the family of a black man shot to death by police while sitting in his wheelchair.

The judge approved the settlement Tuesday, ending a lawsuit over the September 2015 shooting of 28-year-old Jeremy McDole.

Police confronted McDole, who had been paralyzed in a 2005 shooting, after receiving a 911 call about an armed man who had fired a gun.

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This week the Seigel Jewish Community Center in Wilmington was evacuated after it received a bomb threat that was part of a nationwide set of threats on Jewish sites.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the call came in just before noon on Monday and that the threat was just one of at least 15 in 9 states.

A search was conducted of the facility that also included the Jewish Federation of Delaware, the K-5 Albert Einstein Academy and Jewish Family Services of Delaware.

No explosives were found at the Wilmington facility or other sites.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland lawmakers are gathering for the start of their annual 90-day legislative session.

They will convene at noon on Wednesday at the Capitol in Annapolis.

Lawmakers will be working to fill a budget gap of about $544 million for the next fiscal year.

They also will be weighing proposals to require paid sick leave and to either extend a moratorium on the hydraulic oil and gas drilling process known as fracking in western Maryland or ban it.

Lawmakers also will consider legislation to address the rising costs of prescription drugs.

Governor's office

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is pledging millions of dollars in tuition and student loan debt relief.

The Republican governor told a news conference Tuesday at the University of Maryland in College Park that he's proposing a $17.5 million investment to enable the state's 14 colleges and universities to cap tuition increases at 2 percent.

He says they would otherwise have had to raise tuition by as much as 5 percent.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A judge is holding a final case review in the prosecution of a man charged in a 2007 killing at a Newark-area mobile home park.

Wednesday's court hearing involves murder charges against Jason Slaughter in the death of 22-year-old Christopher Masters.

Slaughter was found outside Masters' home with a gunshot wound but was never charged. He told police he had been shot in a home invasion.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal judge has refused to halt the execution of a man convicted of killing a family of four in Virginia.

Ricky Gray's attorneys had asked U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson for a delay to enable him to challenge the state's plan to use lethal injection drugs from a secret compounding pharmacy. Gray's attorneys say the state risks "chemically torturing" the man.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he'll be actively promoting legislation aimed at strengthening the state's ethics rules and making it easier to vote.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, said Tuesday he'll be pushing legislation that would prohibit lawmakers from using their campaign accounts for personal use, saying the move is necessary to accompany a $100 gift cap lawmakers approved earlier in his term.

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CRISFIELD, Md. (AP) - With the ice building around Smith Island and Crisfield, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources dispatched its ice cutter to help.

Media outlets report the ice cutter, named J. Millard Tawes, cut a path Monday through the thickening ice in the Chesapeake Bay. State officials say the ice was between 2-3 inches thick, making it dangerous for the ferry and mail boats that run in the area.

Since Smith Island is only accessible by boat or air, the ice cutter was essential to make travel easier for those who live on the island.

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AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) - Federal parks officials have formally established the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in upstate New York.

Members of the state's congressional delegation joined U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Washington, D.C., for the official signing ceremony Tuesday that makes the park part of the National Park Service system. It encompasses the site of Tubman's old home on the outskirts of Auburn, about 25 miles west of Syracuse, and a nearby church where she worshipped.

Hayden Donnelly

It might be called “The Big Snow.”

For Sussex County it came with some 13.5 inches in Ocean View overtaking the 12 inch average.

The Delaware Coastal Airport saw the temperature drop to 2 degrees matching a 1970 record low.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the temperature in Georgetown only rose to 24 degrees on Sunday as the snow began to melt.

The  paper reports that the Salisbury-Ocean City: Wicomico Regional Airport saw of record of zero degrees.

Roads were icy and snowy with Governor Jack Markell urging motorists to drive cautiously.

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The Chesapeake Bay is filled with ghost pots. These are crab traps. And there are an estimated 600,000 in the waters of the estuary. Pamela D'Angelo with Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative prepared this report.

Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative is funded by the participating stations with grant support from the Clayton Baker Trust, the Bancroft Foundation, Michael and Anne Hankin, the Jim and Patty Rouse Foundation, the Rob and Elizabeth Tyler Foundation and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are poised to begin this year's legislative session by rejecting pay raises for themselves and other state officials.

Senate and House members convene Tuesday for the start of the 149th session of the General Assembly.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed Lourdes Padilla as secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources.

The governor announced the appointment Monday.

Padilla has more than 28 years of experience in the human services field. She now serves as deputy secretary for income maintenance at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Resources. She has overseen operations in five bureaus under that agency. They include child support enforcement, program support and program evaluation.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Distillery owner Denver Riggleman says he will seek the republican nomination for governor.

Riggleman said in a news release late Monday that he wants to break up the "good ole boys system" in Richmond.

Riggleman and his wife, Christine, own Silverback Distillery, a craft distillery in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Three candidates other candidates are running on the Republican side.

Riggleman will host a campaign kickoff at Silverback Distillery on Saturday.

Don Rush

Snow hit the peninsula this weekend with over a foot in some areas.

Ocean View saw around 13 inches with Lewes, Delaware getting 10 inches.

In Salisbury and Snow Hill there was 9 top 10 inches of snow.

Up in Delaware it ranged from Dover with 3 and a half inches and Smyrna with 6 inches to 9.4 inches in in Selbyville.

Governor Jack Markell lifted the state of emergency after Saturday’s winter storm and the Delaware Department of Transportation made good progress in clearing off the roads.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A budget shortfall will be a top concern for Maryland lawmakers during their annual 90-day legislative session.

Lawmakers also will be weighing proposals to require paid sick leave and to either ban or extend a moratorium on the hydraulic oil and gas drilling process known as fracking.

The session begins Wednesday and ends April 10.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Federal officials say there's insufficient evidence to pursue criminal civil rights charges against Delaware police officers who fatally shot a man in a wheelchair.

Officials from the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware, the U.S. Justice Department's civil rights division and the FBI met Friday with representatives of Jeremy McDole's family. Authorities say the evidence doesn't indicate that Wilmington officers willfully used excessive force in shooting the 28-year-old man in 2015.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Kent County judge is holding a bench trial for a former death row inmate facing retrial in a drug-related killing.

Monday's bench trial was set after attorneys for Isaiah McCoy told the judge last month that he wanted to waive his right to a jury trial.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A trial to determine the best way to cure inequality among Maryland's colleges and universities is slated to begin in federal court in Baltimore.

The decade-old case involves a coalition representing the state's four historically black colleges that says the state has underfunded the institutions while developing programs at traditionally white schools that directly compete with and drain prospective students away from the African American schools.

The trial, beginning Monday, will determine a remedy.

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With the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump the nation is still reeling from the sound and fury of the presidential campaign. Delmarva Public Radio Essayist George Merrill writes that he has found solace in being.

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Snow is expected on Delmarva.

Last night around an inch of snow fell across northern Delaware but did not appear to cause any school closings.

And there was only minor accumulation.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued a storm warning for Southern Delmarva that includes Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset Counties in Maryland as well as Accomack County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

There is expected to be snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches on Delmarva with 6 to 12 inches for Virginia overall.

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Macy’s is closing 68 stores across the nation as part of a significant drop in sales.

But the store in the Centre at Salisbury will not be one of them.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that sales dropped for a total of 2.7 percent at all its stores in November and December compared to last year at this time.

Nine of the closings had been previously announced.

59 are expected to be closed by the middle of this year.

This leaves Macy’s with 662 stores nationally.

But the closings may not be over yet.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The annual Polar Bear Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Maryland has raised over $480,000 with three weeks to go until the plunge.

In a statement, organizers said that more than 10,000 people are expected to jump into the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay on Jan. 28 as part of the fundraiser.

This year is the 21st annual plunge, which is hosted by the Maryland State Police.

Participants raise at least $75 each to plunge into the water at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says hunters have another chance to bag deer in most of the state.

The firearm deer season reopens Friday through Saturday everywhere except Garrett and Allegany counties, and the western half of Washington county. The season remains open Sunday on private land only in Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Queen Anne's, Somerset, St. Mary's, Washington and Worcester counties.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's budget proposal includes a $6 million pilot program that would provide women with long-term contraception such as intrauterine devices at no cost.

The Daily Press reports McAuliffe also pushed unsuccessfully last year for the program, which is modeled after a project in Colorado tied to decreases in the teen pregnancy rate and number of abortions.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - State gaming officials say the opening of MGM National Harbor helped Maryland's six casinos bring in record revenue.

Maryland Lottery and Gaming said in a news release Thursday that MGM in Prince George's County generated nearly $42 million from slot machines and table games. The casino opened on Dec. 8.

Officials say that amount and the revenue the other five casinos generated in December brings the total to more than $133 million. The previous revenue record of more than $104 million was set in May 2016.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed an executive order requiring future state contractors to agree to a policy that prohibits discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The order is similar to one McAuliffe signed when taking office in 2014 prohibiting discrimination against state employees.

The governor, a Democrat, said the order would make Virginia a more business-friendly state.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Environmental advocates are urging Maryland lawmakers to override Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a bill to boost the state's renewable energy standards.

The advocates held a rally in front of the Maryland State House on Thursday with the bill's sponsors.

They say increasing requirements to use energy sources like wind and solar to 25 percent by 2020 will help the environment and increase jobs in the solar industry. Maryland's current renewable energy standard goal is 20 percent by 2022.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A new report finds water clarity in the Chesapeake Bay is the best it's been in decades, and native rockfish, oyster and blue crab populations are rebounding as the overall health of the nation's largest estuary improves.
 
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's biennial State of the Bay report gave the estuary a C-minus grade, an improvement from a D-plus two years ago. It's the highest score since the first report in 1998.
 

Don Rush

The Delaware City Refinery has been given permission by state officials to handle shipments of unblended ethanol at its barge facility. It comes as part of a  federal government mandate that requires ethanol make up 10 percent of gasoline. However, a conservation group says the federal program is endangering habitat as farmers meet demand by growing such crops as corn for ethanol use. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Collin O'Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation, who said it's time to rollback the program.

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